‘Seussical Jr.’ opens July 10 at FMCC

From left, Trenton Richmond (Yertle ), Elyssa VanEvery (Sour Kangaroo), Bella Bradley (Young Kangaroo), Amy Cimmino (Mrs. Mayor), Amelia Baldwin (Gertrude McFuzz), Luke Pavlus (Horton the Elephant), Zoe Casement (Jojo) Delaney Grady (The Cat in the Hat),  Lisa Cimmino (Narrator), Caris Carbone (Lorax), and Preston Gillis (Vlad). (Photo submitted)

 JOHNSTOWN — Foothills Family Productions proudly presents their Children’s Summer theater delightful production of the musical “Seussical Jr.” at Fulton Montgomery Community College on Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12, 13 and 14. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday through July 13 and at 2 p.m. on July 14.

This fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza, brings to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, and Lazy Mayzie, and the Grinch.  

“O, the Thinks You Can Think” captures the show’s spirit of imagination, as the colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to McElligot’s Pool to Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. 

The Cat in the Hat (Delaney Grady) pops in and out of scenes, narrating, playing numerous characters and helping the audience keep track of what’s going on.  

Jojo, a little child with a big imagination, is played by Zoe Casement. Her parent Whos, Mr and Mrs Mayor are played by Aaron Madej and Amy Cimmino.  

The story centers around Horton the Elephant ( Luke Pavlus) who finds himself faced with a double challenge — not only must he protect the smallest planet in the universe on a speck of dust, which is home to his tiny friend Jojo (and the invisible Whos) from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie LaBird (Sarah Dworman).

Horton faces ridicule from the animals in the Jungle of Nool instigated by ringleader Sour Kangaroo (Elyssa VanEvery) and her Young Kangaroo (Bella Bradley); the Bird Girls (Ava Barker, Illyria Escher, Madalyn Goebrig, Amira Lefflear, Maya LaCoppola, Abbigail Lewis, Bella Lewis  and Willow Sanges); the Wickersham monkeys (Christopher Cimmino, Kevin Hohensheldt, Matthew Iorio, Dillon Lamphear, Caleb Goebrig and Nolan Meyer); Thing One and Thing Two (Anastasija Morse and Bethany Dence Duffek); Vlad Valdovich (Preston Gillis); and Yertle the Turtle (Trenton Richmond).  

Horton stubbornly persists in his belief that the Whos exist even when captured and sold to the Circus McGurkus. Circus performers  include Aria Bose-Mullick (contortionist), Maria Carpenter (ballerina), Kylie Rose Frascatore (trapeze artist), Amaiah Hodges (horse), Xena Lewis (ballerina), Keira Muselbeck (clown), Lacey Smithers (lion tamer), Kaydence Staley  (lion) and Madison Tierney (strongman).

Meanwhile, the citizens of Who (Annelyse Ayala, Ashlin Baird, Lucy Esler, Nina Ferguson, Julia Gillis, Kendall Jacques, Anna Leo, Payton Nellis, Sophia Pullen-Castillo, Addisyn Rose, Elaina VanEvery,  Briella Van Nostrand, Isabelle Wager, Addison Weigel, Olivia  Williams and Kailyn Feerick as CindyLou) are having some adventures of their own.

The extinction of their beloved Truffula trees is enacted by Narrator 1 and 2 (Lisa Cimmino and Aaliyah Van Nostrand), the Once-ler (Mia Martin) and the Lorax (Caris Carbone). The Grinch (Bryen Belknap) tells his tale. 

Meanwhile on the other side of Whoville there’s  a war over which side of the bread gets buttered, fought by the Who Cadets (Gracelin Bradley, Evelyn Clo, Juliana Doak, Paige Fitzpatrick, Isabella Forsey, Soria Hock, Gianna Mosi, Nora Meyer, Sidney Sheldon and Avery Van Nostrand) led by General Ghenghis Khan Schmitz (Max Barker).

Jojo, the smallest child in Whoville, parallels Horton’s journey as she is ostracized for the unpopular act of thinking — an activity discouraged by her parents and teacher. One of her “Thinks” takes her from her overflowing bathtub to McElligot’s Pool (Jordan Chatwin, Zoe Fitzpatrick,  Keandra Farriington, Jordan Hammond,  Lucy LoDestro, Riley Phillips, Adrianna Scott and Emily Strauser). The Elephant birds are Jason Feerick and Charlie Phillips.   

But in spite of these obstacles, Jojo and Horton attempt to do what they think is right, and together they sing the duet “Alone in the Universe”.

Through danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz (Amelia Baldwin) never loses faith in Horton, the only one who recognizes “his kind and his powerful heart.”

Ultimately the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant, in a story that will make you laugh and cry, as Horton proves that “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

The creative and production team includes director, Roberta Esposito;  musical director/conductor/keyboard, Patricia Zullo;  pianist, Susan Van Voorst; choreographers, Andrea Balagh, Sophia Danise, Olivia Esposito and Madison Smeallie; assistant choreographer, Sierra Brower.

Producer ia Kathy VanAlstine; Stage Manager/Assistant to Director: Katt Cummings ; Production Assistant Stage Manager: JoLynn Douglas; Production Assistants: Sara Baldwin & Damaris Carbone, Jenn Szumowski; Costume Design & Execution: Sandra Cimmino, Dawn Smouse & Lisa Stegeland;  Set Design: Dale Clark, Roberta Esposito & Bill Feerick; Head of Sets and Props: Brett Pavlus & Sara Baldwin; Lighting and Sound: Jason Radalin & Kiera Davis; Scenic Design & Artists: Ginnie Edwards & Natalie Casement; Ticket & Flyer Design: Megan Torniainen; Make-up & Hair Design: Tisha Coffin; Head of Make-up & Hair: Charlene Strauser; Mentors: Sierra Brower, Alison Busch,  Gianna Carbone, Matthew Cimmino, Maria  Danise, Abbigail Douglas, Katie Hastings, Kimi Hasting, Rachel Lee, Alyssa Rocas & Kate Szumowski; Set &Prop  Construction & Running Crew: Jackie Amilivia, Bob Baldwin, Sara Baldwin, Rosina Belknap, Sandie Boggie, Demaris Carbone, Brian Casement,   Natalie Casement, Katt Cummings, JoLynn Douglas, Carol Duffek, Allyson Dworman,  Ginnie Edwards, Rinaldo Esposito, Bill Feerick, Erin Goehrig,  Paul   Gillis, Corey Hock, Erin Hock,  John  Liccardo,  April Meyer, Adrianne Morse, Rich Muselbeck, Brett Pavlus,  Jason Radalin, Stacey Rocas, Jake Smathers,  Ralph Smeallie  and  Jenn Szumowski.

“Seussical Jr.” is based on the works of Dr Seuss with book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty; music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahren.  It is performed through special arrangement  with Music Theatre International (MTI).

“Seussical Jr.” is made possible in part, with a 2017-18 Stewart’s Holiday Match grant,

“Seussical Jr” will be performed at FMCC Theater at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12, and 13 and at 2 p.m. on July 14. Tickets are $12 for adults,  children 12 and younger are $5. 

For ticket information and reservations, call Foothills Family Productions at (518) 224-1083.        

By Kerry Minor

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